Nepal should include accessible tourism in its tourism agenda

Published on : Thursday, December 3, 2015

NepalNow when Nepal is trying to revive its tourism strength, experts are proposing that the tourism marketing should be all inclusive specially harping on “accessible tourism.” There should be some provision for the  people with disabilities or age. These thoughts found echo in an event organised in partnership between Four Season Travel and Tour, the US Embassy and International Development Institute, during the  Accessibility Matters event (Opportunities for Inclusive Tourism in Nepal).



Experts have advised Nepal to market tourism by using the “accessible tourism” strategy – accessible destinations and services, regardless limitations related to people’s disabilities or age



During Accessibility Matters event on Tuesday (Opportunities for Inclusive Tourism in Nepal), organized by a partnership between Four Season Travel and Tour, the US Embassy and International Development Institute, experts discussed the small country’s touristic potential as well as different boosting tourism strategies for the Nepalese market, mainly using the “accessible tourism” strategy to increase the number of foreign visitors.



“Differently abled people are also passionate to travel and can pay any amount. It’s difficult to find a place in Nepal for differently abled people as the tourism industry here has not realized that the potential”, Sagar Prasai, from the Nepal National Federation of Disability declared.



Prasai added that wheelchair ramps for disabled people are also mandatory for Nepalese hotels to become compliant with the necessities of this category of people.



“Even most of the hotels here do not have guidelines,” he added.



As there are more than a billion people with disabilities worldwide that spend more than $13 billion each year on travel, according to Lonely Planet, most of them would travel even more if destinations would provide suitable facilities and special requirements would be available for them.



Nepal is aiming to align with these requirements and provide disabled people the conditions they need to visit the country.



“It’s time that Nepal raised voice for the equal rights and inclusive tourism to attract more differently abled people. We believe that differently abled people deserve equal opportunity in the society”, said William Holton, cultural affairs officer at the US Embassy in Nepal.



President of the National Association of the Hard of Hearing, Neeta Keshari Bhattarai, underlined the importance of travel and tour operators’ specially trained guides in meeting the needs of visually and hearing impaired people and communicating with disabled tourists: “People with visual and hearing impairments suffer a lot since there are no signage in the public places”.



Accessible tourism is considered to have a huge potential for Nepal, as foreign tourists with disabilities are eager to visit these places. All things considered, the industry must be oriented to meet the special requirements in this sector, in order to ensure the country’s touristic growth in the future.

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